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Draft Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Update Expands Powers and Penalties 141

Despite calls to limit the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, it looks like Congress is planning to drastically expand the law and penalties. walterbyrd writes with a few of the major changes listed in the draft bill (22 pages): "Adds computer crimes as a form of racketeering. Expands the ways in which you could be guilty of the CFAA — including making you just as guilty if you plan to 'violate' the CFAA than if you actually did so. Ratchets up many of the punishments. Makes a very, very minor adjustment to limit 'exceeding authorized access.' Expands the definition of 'exceeding authorized access' in a very dangerous way. Makes it easier for the federal government to seize and forfeit anything." TechCrunch also reports rumors that the plan is to push the bill through quickly for approval with a number of other "cybersecurity" bills in mid-April.
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Draft Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Update Expands Powers and Penalties

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    And how, precisely, do they plan to prove this?


    Shit like this is why politicians shouldn't even be trusted with a minimum wage McJob, let alone drafting legal policy for things like telecommunications, computer use, and the liike.

    • The same way they prove any conspiracy.
    • You think politicians actually draft legislation? I don't think that's been done since the late 1800s. Corporate shills (foundations) and their lawyers draft almost all the laws, now. I'm not surprised at this type of legislative crap and will do all the things that I did to help kill SOPA. I hope all the people that worked to shoot down SOPA are still just as perturbed, now, as they were then.
  • Fascist America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danbuter ( 2019760 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:16PM (#43277045)
    One step closer to fascism. Big business controls the government, and the government will control every single aspect of your life.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      At least with Fascism they told you what they were going to do once they got into power. With the current government there's no publicly acknowledged consistent ideology for why they need all this power. They are amassing all this power, for what?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They are amassing all this power, for what?

        For the coming massive economic/currency crash, followed by World War/revolution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's for globalization and the one world government. What else? Hell, we're being conditioned to accept and respect titles like "czar" already.

        When the ruling class is ready for us to know who holds the puppet strings, they'll let us know.

    • Re:Fascist America (Score:4, Insightful)

      by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:18PM (#43277463)

      Big business controls the government, and the government will control every single aspect of your life.

      Who really thinks big business will hold the leash in this relationship? They simply aren't that powerful, don't have the resources or the guns, and they aren't sufficiently unified compared to a large national government, especial one as vast as the US federal government.

      Now, if it were say a half a dozen or less massive businesses (something like the Japanese zaibatsu [] of old) who controlled virtually all private activity, then you'd be speaking of players who would have power sufficient to deal with the federal government as near equals.

      We have to keep in mind that the federal government spends above 20% of GDP and is likely to stay that high for a while. The largest private enterprises, Exxon-Mobile and Walmart are about a tenth the size and have a profit margin to maintain.

      OTOH, the US federal government spends somewhere under a dollar to acquire $100 according to the IRS (so I understand, though I getting the data from a secondary source [], see page 24).

      It also maintains a large military and law enforcement, which in part maintains the societal infrastructure that generates the tax revenue present and future that the US government depends on (either directly through taxes or indirectly through borrowing). I don't think such necessary expenses would be higher than about 10%. That means the rest of it is money waiting to be doled out to constituents, special interests, and building up federal bureaucracies. Now, some fraction of that remainder is going to have to go to entitlements and other gifts to voters in order to preserve the overall revenue stream, but I bet they have a margin that a private company would be willing to kill for.

      • Re:Fascist America (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @09:26PM (#43277853)
        The original post has it right, you have it wrong: mega-business has co-opted the government. Every real world example shows this pattern.

        The bank bailout of 2008. Even though the banks failed the most basic rules of capitalism, there was no meaningful penalty for institutions or individuals. All the whining about Dodd-Frank regulation is crocodile tears. The big Wall Street firms have not changed in any way. They still engage in appallingly bad behavior because of unbridled greed. JPMorgan just got caught effectively breaking the new regulations and lost $6 billion as a result. There were still casino gambling, but they called it something else. The fallout: nothing. No legal or regulatory action. Dead silence after one day of hearings. Jamie Dimon just got a big vote of confidence from his board, and retains the titles of both CEO and Chairman. He was personally aware of what went on. Yes, at some point an underling will be thrown under the bus and go to jail, but the big crooks are untouched.

        DCMA in general and this legislation in particular. It criminalizes the most innocuous actions so that business can crush anyone at any time. This is the government doing the bidding of mega corps.

        Fracking. Ever increasing areas of the country are having their water supplies poisoned forever so that Big Oil can make more money. It's worse then Chernobyl or Fukushima, because radioactivity has a half life. Fracking is a irreversible change to geologic structure. It will take geologic time to recover. These are the same companies that were the most profitable businesses in the history of the world in the 2000 decade. They still get obscene tax brakes that go back to 1926.

        Monsanto and GM crops. First they said the the manipulated genes would not get into non-GM crops. Then when it happened the courts ruled that the non-GM planing farmers could be sued for stealing their IP. So if GM crops are used in an area, either you plant a different crop, or are forced to use the GM seeds to avoid being sued. The Mafia is envious.

        In addition: Big Pharma and Oxycontin. HDMI cables. EULA. "Clean Coal". Mandatory ethanol from corn. Increasing the number of 1-HB visas.

        The constant feature is that big business can buy damn near any legislation they want. The government is the enforcement arm of corporations. In the real world the law goes to the highest bidder, and all the money and power resides in corporations. When you blame the government your corporate owners are delighted. They can keep right on going because their disinformation campaign is working perfectly. Any fix requires understanding who is in charge, and you have it completely wrong.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          The bank bailout of 2008.

          What about the bank bailouts is supposed to prove your point? It wasn't the banks who could on the spur of the moment channel many trillions of other peoples' money. That point resided with the governments of the world.


          If fracking is dominated by business interests then why isn't it being applied as quickly as possible everywhere? California supposedly has much larger [] shale oil reserves than North Dakota has, but it doesn't have the same activity. Why can't businesses get what they want in California, if th

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Everything you listed is correct, but I will disagree vehemently on the most major principle: the US govt- senators and representatives- in fact ARE in control. That they pander to the corporations is well known and being accepted by all. But the senators and reps. do it willingly, and the sheeple keep reelecting them. If the sheeple would realize that whoever the news media presents is truly the enemy, and vote for someone who is not headlined, we might start to have a country again.

          There are grass-root

        • In addition: Big Pharma and Oxycontin.

          The good news is that increased enforcement is choking off the street supply of painkillers.
          The bad news is that prescription opiates are being replaced with real opiates: heroin.
          You can find news articles talking about the shift, starting around 2008 []

        • They can keep right on going because their disinformation campaign is working perfectly.

          The disinformation you should be worried about is the progressive and left-wing disinformation you are listening to. Free markets are the solution to these problems, not the cause. Big businesses don't like free markets and don't like operating in free markets, they like government regulation, government-mandated monopolies, and government subsidies and bailouts. And Obama has been even worse in these areas than his pred

      • The central banks, that's who. Which nation's economies aren't controlled by a central bank affiliated with the world bank?

      • by Trepidity ( 597 )

        So you don't think this legislation has anything to do with the copyright lobby, which taken in aggregate is larger than the entire U.S. government?

        It's funny that you talk about "above 20% of GDP" as if it's high, when countries with stronger protections for civil liberties, like Denmark, have a government sized at 50% of GDP. Seems like smaller, US-style government doesn't produce any benefits.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          It's funny that you talk about "above 20% of GDP" as if it's high, when countries with stronger protections for civil liberties, like Denmark, have a government sized at 50% of GDP.

          Actually, that's roughly 58% of GDP [] in 2009 and Denmark is higher as a fraction of GDP than any other country in the OECD.

          There is state and local government spending in the US. That is about as large as the federal spending. So sure, the US government could spend another 15-20% more than it currently does, though there's no particular reason to do so aside from digging the economic hole deeper.

          As to Denmark and its fabled "stronger protections for civil liberties", it's part of the EU which recently

          • by Trepidity ( 597 )

            I don't think failing to bail out banks is much of an intrusion on civil liberties. Cyprus was not "forced" into accepting anything. They were merely offered a deal with some terms. They could've refused it and let the banks fold.

            I believe, contrary to your prediction, that we'll find libertarian shitholes to correspond strongly with weaker protections for civil liberties. If the government isn't providing basic infrastructure, the country will suck. The U.S. is going that way already, which is why I got ou

      • Re:Fascist America (Score:4, Insightful)

        by some old guy ( 674482 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @04:13AM (#43279217)

        Our multinational capitalist oligarchs do not have to hold the reigns of power. They own the horse.

        The government is bought and paid for via graft and 1st Amendment-protected campaign contributions.

        Not to accept the obvious is hopelessly naive.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          Our multinational capitalist oligarchs do not have to hold the reigns of power. They own the horse.

          They don't have the power to keep the horse. Government has that.

          Not to accept the obvious is hopelessly naive.

          Appeal to naivety is a fallacy. Especially when it's wrong.

    • Re:Fascist America (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:21PM (#43277495)

      Actually I think it shows that they are getting more and more scared - which can only be because the people are getting more and more agitated. These folks act in reaction to perceived threats to them and their jobs. If they are cracking down by trying to pass these over-reaching laws it can only mean that they are losing a large amount of control and power on this front. On one hand it is good, I believe in power to the people - though within reason, but on the other hand it brings us one step closer to an Orwellian state which is scary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      One step closer to fascism.

      Closer? What are the five tenets of fascism:

      1. Nationalism (Patriotism)
      Exalting the nation (or race) above all else, and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity. "We're number one! We're number one!"
      2. The State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. In less academic terms, if you're not a patriot, you're the enemy. And a patriot is defined as, well, whatever the state tells you it's defined as.

      3. National corporatism (and various o

      • P.S. Apologies, I forgot the quotes in my copy-pasta off Wikipedia. Much of the descriptions provided here are from the website, while the analysis is my own.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Well, what is going on in the US now certainly looks like the precursor to Fascism. It is not there yet though, but only by quantitative measure, qualitatively it is pretty close. I grew up in Germany, Fascism is a bit more drastic than what is going on on average in the US now, it certainly matches the extremes though. So, do something now or explain to future generation why you failed to do so. And no, the US will not be rescued by the free world. Freeing relatively small Germany was already almost infeas

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        It's getting harder for me to discern the difference between fascism and socialism these days, especially with all the hybrids cropping up in the world.. they definitely contrast with the more traditional socialism seen in North Korea for ex. Whether the power grab originated in the state or in a corporate oligarchy doesn't matter because the net result is the same: one uses the others' encroaching influence on the society to control it.

        I wonder which corporations will end up being the 'jennings & rall

        • Socialism give to the poor to free them. Fascism lend to the poor to enslave them. That was easy!
          • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

            It's nowhere near that simple, and there are plenty of counterexamples. Both ideologies enslave..

            • Both ideologies enslave..

              If you want to trivialize the word 'enslave' in such a manner, then one could say "civilization enslaves." Lord of the Flies. . .

              Being a part of any society comes at the cost of restrictions upon one's freedom. The question is, "which restrictions are good?" Not, "are restrictions good?" It's the restrictions we place upon ourselves and enforce through government that allow us to transcend the greater restrictions nature imposes on us. Only through discipline can we be free.

              • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                It shouldn't, in my opinion, limit your freedoms to belong to society. Then again, most people mistakenly define the word "freedom." What should be restricted is liberties. This isn't a matter of simple semantics but is an important difference to point out and be aware of. I guess the best way to put it is that I'm free to kill you, I have that freedom. That is the way that it should be. I'm free to kill you but I'm not at liberty to do so. There will be consequences for that but my freedom isn't restricted

                • Yeah, odd, that. Many dismissively use "ah, that's just semantics" yet, beyond grunt, gesture, posture, facial expression, semantics is all we have left with which attempt communication with another.

                  So I think you make a useful distinction, to help increase clarity of thought by using correct word.

                  I think Patrick Henry chose his words carefully: "Give me liberty...."

                  • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                    Someone insisting you voluntarily surrender something is an oxymoron and still taking something from you. I think that if you're being asked to surrender something, no matter how trivial, it is best to ensure that the communication is clear. There are some principles that are so strong that you have to be clear that they're boundaries and freedom is a very important thing to not let go of. Rights and liberties will be taken away as governments only grow in power, I'll concede those but there are already eno

        • In most cases it is corporate fascism masquerading itself as socialism. It starts up with Obama administration which is clearly a fascist government, yet media lie us about it calling them "liberal" or "socialist". The same in EU - all their commissars are corporate sock puppets, yet everyone calls them socialist. The same with greek government giving in to Goldman Sachs.

          Corporation don't care if it is "left" or "right". Their only concern is money. JP Morgan and Walmart earn gobs of money on foodstamps pr

    • Oh, please, spare us the unhelpful cliches and doom-saying. There are problems with government, but there have always been problems with government in the US. We deal with them as they come up and move on. If you think this is "fascism", you really know nothing about fascism. But, then, stupidity like yours is nothing new either among the voting public, and we have survived that and thrived despite of it for two centuries.

  • just look at what's been plaguing slashdot lately! bloody spammers
  • this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:19PM (#43277067)

    Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Laws too dense for average citizens to understand, too vague to prevent massive abuse! Please. You're all felons. You haven't been prosecuted because you haven't pissed anyone off enough to become one, but all I need to do is record you going about your daily business for a week, and I'll find enough dirt to keep you locked up for a long time. Every. Last. One of you. Except perhaps the person who can't read this, because they're in a coma, in a hospital bed. And that poor, poor bastard is only avoiding his fate for as long as his bank account continues to pay off his mortgages and student loans. Once the money runs out, yeah... he's gonna be a felon too.

    The law has ceased to have any relevance of any kind whatsoever for principled and ethical people. You cannot follow all the laws, you don't even know all of them, and you're not supposed to, and even if you did manage this collossal feat that even our own government can't accomplish with all of its resources... interpreting the law is also a crime. Ha ha. And telling someone else what you've learned? Practicing law without a license... another crime.

    We're all criminals. We just haven't been caught.

    • Re:this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:24PM (#43277097)

      Exactly. It's not about being able to arrest everybody. They can't arrest everybody, and they don't want to arrest everybody.

      It's about being able to arrest anybody.

      • You make a good point, but I'd argue with you on their inability to arrest "everybody" The fact of the matter is, they already have over 1% of the population in prison. Maybe they can't technically get everyone, but they sure as hell are trying.

        • ... they already have over 1% of the population in prison. Maybe they can't technically get everyone, but they sure as hell are trying.

          Interestingly, I wonder what the tipping point is when the US simply cannot afford to put any more people into incarceration. I wonder how much tax as a percentage is spent on putting people into prison?

        • The fact of the matter is, they already have over 1% of the population in prison.

          Technically, 0.7%, but it's a very misleading statistic. 9.2% of blacks are in prison right now. Now, I'd love to hear an argument that explains how 70% of the prison population isn't white, while making up only 20.04% of the general population. The author's original point wasn't that they want to arrest everybody -- it's that they want the abilty to arrest anyone. And they certainly show a strong preference towards arresting certain classes of citizens. Mind you, that's 9.2% right now. That doesn't count p

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Now, I'd love to hear an argument that explains how 70% of the prison population isn't white....

            It is because they are not white.

            Bonus! Guess why 91.5% of the prison population isn't male.

          • Re:this just in (Score:5, Informative)

            by Lothsahn ( 221388 ) <Lothsahn@@@SPAM_ ... u_bastardsyahocm> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:26AM (#43278639)
            Sociology study after study shows that there is significant racial bias in the police force against blacks. Minorities are more likely to get charged with crimes, arrested, and pulled over for committing the same traffic infraction as compared to whites.[1] This bias exists and is real. This is a significant portion of the story.

            The other significant portion of the story is that blacks are far more impoverished than whites, on average. " In 2010, 27.4 percent of blacks and 26.6 percent of Hispanics were poor, compared to 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 12.1 percent of Asians." [2] Poverty has a strong correlation to violent crime and drug use. "Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates in the United States, up from less than 10 percent in 1980. " [3] This figure does not include crimes which are committed to support a drug addiction.

            Interestingly, violent crime rates are similar in impoverished black and white neighborhoods. "The violent crime rate in highly disadvantaged Black areas was 22 per 1,000 residents, not much different from the 20 per 1,000 rate in similar white communities." [4] This means that despite the proven police bias, for violent crimes, only 2 per 1000 more blacks are convicted of violent crimes as compared to whites in impoverished neighborhoods.

            In summary... 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr., we still have significant racial bias in American Culture. However, we have come a long way as compared to even 25 years ago. As we continue to improve as a nation, and treat others not based on their racial makeup, I believe the poverty inequality will begin to equalize in this nation. We still have a big problem with racism in the US. The racism issue is slowly improving, but there are practical and non-racist reasons why the incarceration rates differ so dramatically between whites and blacks. You don't enslave a population of people for hundreds of years and then turn around, snap your fingers, and suddenly have racial, economic, financial, and social equality. Repairing the damage that was done takes time. Now if our prison system could be more interested in healing instead of retribution...

            Interesting Note: There is growing evidence that Lead is the cause of the majority of the violent crime. [5] If this is true, this may explain why the violent crime rates are similar--impoverished people are more likely to be exposed to lead, but impoverished blacks are just as likely to be exposed as whites.

            [1] [] [2] []
            [3] []
            [4] []
            [5] []
            • Minorities are more likely to get charged with crimes, arrested, and pulled over for committing the same traffic infraction as compared to whites.[1] This bias exists and is real. This is a significant portion of the story.

              Young African-American males commit murders at a rate a hundred times larger than the general population. You can't explain that away with "bias"; there is something profoundly wrong with the subculture they live in.

              The racism issue is slowly improving, but there are practical and non-ra

      • The government doesn't care about most of us. They will only arrest people who, as MOPC said, pissed someone with more power than us off. Otherwise the only people who get arrested are the random members of the herd who are necessary to make status quo numbers. It's kind of where America has been headed for a while. We're all about regulations and numbers and basically the movie Brazil.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, Lacey Act, (16 U.S.C. 3371–3378), makes it illegal to posses, transport, etc etc, any plant or animal or fish that is illegal to posses or transport in by US law, Indian law, OR ANY FOREIGN NATION'S LAW. This means I can catch and possess a fish that is legal in one state, in the state that it is legal in, but still be arrested because it is illegal in a different state or even a foreign country.

      We are all felons, because there are so many laws on so many things that we cannot possibly stay on

    • So many people don't understand this; that there are so many laws that you can't possibly understand. Just about everyone is guilty if the Feds dig deep enough.

    • "Know ye the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

      Right. Thanks, anyway. [grin]

      I have to guess that it's good to know the state of play, but too often lately I almost think I'd prefer not to know just how bad it is. A bit of bliss about now would go a long way.

  • by intellitech ( 1912116 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:20PM (#43277079)

    I’m a constituent calling on you to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030. This law contains vague language that broadly criminalizes accessing a computer "without authorization," carries heavy-handed penalties, and shows no regard for whether an act was done to further the public good. We saw how these laws could be abused in the case of Aaron Swartz, a recently-deceased 26-year-old coder and social activist who was hounded by the Justice Department in a relentless and unjust felony prosecution.

    The CFAA needs three critical fixes: first, terms of service violations must not be considered crimes. Second, if a user is allowed to access information, it should not be a crime to access that data in a new or innovative way -- which means commonplace computing techniques that protect privacy or help test security cannot be illegal. And finally, penalties must be made proportionate to offenses: minor violations should be met with minor penalties.

    While it is too late to intervene on behalf of Aaron, it’s not too late to ensure that this harm is not done to future social justice activists and security researchers. Please hold a Congressional hearing to examine the ongoing abuses of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and similar laws, and champion reform so that the potential punishments fit the crimes.

    You can write to them easily here: []

    Take the time to add a note to the end of the boilerplate about how you WILL NOT vote for them if they don't act.

    Senators and Representatives, even somebody like me who doesn't follow all things politics-related can still see how you vote and how well you represent my interests via [] , at the very least. Just remember, we are watching.

    • You can write to them easily here:

      And they can just as easily reply with a form letter, feeding your letter into a database to extract keywords, which is then used to build a report that the legislator may read from time to time to figure out how popular something is.

      Take the time to add a note to the end of the boilerplate about how you WILL NOT vote for them if they don't act.

      Form letter democracy at its finest. I'm sure it'll get plenty of attention, like all the other form letters submitted to Congress have. You wanna make a difference? Get a pen and a piece of paper. That gets noticed. E-mail? Lulz. It's spam to them.

      Senators and Representatives, even somebody like me who doesn't follow all things politics-related can still see how you vote

      Yeah, you either get to vote

      • They are not buying the politicians. They are buying our vote. Or more correctly, we are selling our vote. 98% of us. The politician is simply the intermediary.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And they can just as easily reply with a form letter

        A former staffer once told me the key to getting an actual human being to craft a response. It's possible that in the years since they've clued into this technique, but I doubt it. The key, as he told it, was never to write about a single issue. They had form letters for basically any issue you might care about. If, instead, you wrote about two issues with absolutely no connection, it forced a staffer to craft a response (often from multiple form letters.) If your second issue was really obscure, it might e

        • by penix1 ( 722987 )

          What typically happens when you write to these asshats is they pass the letter on to a lowly state official to answer. I have answered many a congressional letters from the public that would have gotten them a faster answer had they contacted me directly. You see, once a congressional comes down we answer back to the congress critter who in turn copies that response back to the person. The same happens on the federal level. They pass it off to anyone else to answer, usually the same agency the person is whi

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, it is:

      Liberal reaction: shoot the other foot.
      Conservative reaction: shoot a poor person in the foot.
      Libertarian reaction: allow someone else to shoot themselves in the foot.
      Socialist reaction: cut off all feet so that no one can shoot themselves in the foot.

      • Actually, it is:

        Liberal reaction: shoot the other foot.
        Conservative reaction: shoot a poor person in the foot.
        Libertarian reaction: allow someone else to shoot themselves in the foot.
        Socialist reaction: cut off all feet so that no one can shoot themselves in the foot.

        I thought it was funny.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:56PM (#43277293) Homepage Journal

      Since it's just a draft, I'm not actually certain who wrote it. It doesn't have a tracking number yet. This being the House, we can infer that the chairman is OK with it, and he's a Republican, but he's not necessarily the author.

      The only clue I can find is in a file name included in the document:


      but I don't see anybody on the committee whose name fits "HRBRAZ~1" (and it's probable that it's somebody's secretary or legislative assistant; it might even be the staffer who's responsible for maintaining the XML [via Softquad, on an elderly Windows installation]).

      • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:10PM (#43277415) Homepage

        Well it is most certainly not a congress critter as they are way to stupid to think and write anything 'legal' themselves. So the bigger question is, who has lobbied for the terms in the proposed law?

    • Go on! Keep thinking in terms of dualities and always blame wrong things on the other side. Not having to deal with reality will make you feel better about yourself (and self esteem is important).

  • Needs a new title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:26PM (#43277115) Journal

    Maybe they could change the title to this bill to the "Piss on Aaron Swartz's Grave Act of 2013"?

    Seriously, what did you expect. The noose always gets tighter.

    • Re:Needs a new title (Score:4, Informative)

      by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:57PM (#43277313)

      Well, yeah. They're naming it after him because his death dropped the pants on these asshats. So naturally, they adjusted the law to prevent further de-pantsing events rather than admit that their crappy, over-vague, law which criminalizes basically any use of a computer indirectly led to the death of a talented young man who's crime was basically annoying authorities in the 3rd degree.

      • Re:Needs a new title (Score:5, Informative)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @12:34AM (#43278669) Homepage

        Those changes are even worse than that. They basically allow the government to seize your home solely upon the basis of a claim of conspiracy of an already arrested person awaiting trial and a reduced sentence. Basically these laws have been written to silence political activist who use computers for any political activity.

        Most people use their computers in their homes, their homes provide the facility for using that computer hence, under the law can be confiscated regardless of the lack of any losses or gains, just upon the claims of conspiracy. As conspiracy does not require the evidence of any crimes being committed purely the testimony of an individual seeking a reduced sentence ie. the loss of their homes and many years in prison, you can see how this can be readily abused to target any individual disliked by the current political authority.

        Breach of contract is a civil matter but under this Law if the contract is basically on a computer it is a criminal offence. To access the contract you must adhere to the conditions of contract, if you breach the conditions of contract, your access to the contract is now a criminal act. Even more insanely it sets no limits on the 'Terms of Service' of access to computer network. This enables the wordings of "Term of Service' to ensure all users breach the "Terms of Service" in normal use, thus allowing the entity responsible for the "Terms of Service" the power of prosecution over all of it's users.

        Straight up this is a political attack targeted at computer geeks and nerds, basically the majority of slashdot users and at silencing them because of their greater political influence in the internet age.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:26PM (#43277117) Journal

    I'm guessing Google, Wikipedia and friends aren't going to blackout their websites over this one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 25, 2013 @07:55PM (#43277285)

    They propose something completely over the top, so that when they appear to reconsider and listen to the public, we are all mollified to let them get precisely what they wanted in the first place.

    Join the ACLU and EFF, your NRA for the 21st century.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know this goes against the great American trend for using words with specific interpretations -- like 'than' and 'which', or indeed 'like', 'than', and 'which' -- as all-purpose conjunctions, but shouldn't it be 'as' here?

    "making you just as guilty if you plan to 'violate' the CFAA than if you actually did so. "

  • Turns out that the Internet is being used as a tool for depriving Americans of their privacy and rights.
    • IMHO you could say that for every new technology. For example, every new tech that saves us time will eventually make us work more. At least we've got the games...
  • nt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:07PM (#43277389)

    Dear americans:

    Fuck you

    Sincerely, the feds.

  • []

    with the same BS and if you don't pay or use a pop up blocker (site will be coded to pop a pay screen when you try to quit or go to a different page)

    You can be the next CFAA felon. And the site will clam that fixing the pop up bypass will cost over 5K.

  • Adds computer crimes as a form of racketeering.

    Yay! They'll finally stop those **AA groups from sending extortive legal threats over song downloads! ...wait, why are you looking at me like that?

  • by Freddybear ( 1805256 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:41PM (#43277599)

    Orin Kerr from the Volokh Conspiracy has this to say about the "new" draft CFAA: []

    "Stop taking DOJ’s language from back in 2011 and packaging it as something new. Based on a quick read, it seems that the amendments for 1030 in the new draft are mostly copied from a bill that Senator Leahy offered (with substantial input from DOJ, as I understand it) back in November 2011. I criticized that language here. The new circulating draft also adopts the sentencing enhancements (minus mandatories) and the proposed 1030a that DOJ advocated in May 2011. I criticized that initial DOJ language here. (There’s also a breach notification provision in the new language, but I haven’t followed that issue closely; I don’t know if that proposal is also based on old language.)

    In some ways, the new circulating language is even more severe and harsh than DOJ wanted even in the Lori Drew case. For example, the proposed language would make it a felony crime to violate Terms of Service if the TOS violation:

            (I) involves information that exceeds $5,000 in value;
            (II) was committed for purposes of obtaining sensitive or non-public information of an entity or another individual (including such information in the possession of a third party), including medical records, wills, diaries, private correspondence, financial records, photographs of a sensitive or private nature, trade secrets, or sensitive or non-public commercial business information;
            (III) was committed in furtherance of any criminal act in violation United States or of any State, unless such state violation would be based solely on the obtaining of information without authorization or in excess of authorization; or
            (IV) involves information obtained from a computer used by or for a government entity;

    This language is really, really broad. If I read it correctly, the language would make it a felony to lie about your age on an online dating profile if you intended to contact someone online and ask them personal questions. It would make it a felony crime for anyone to violate the TOS on a government website. It would also make it a federal felony crime to violate TOS in the course of committing a very minor state misdemeanor. If there is a genuine argument for federal felony liability in these circumstances, I hope readers will enlighten me: I cannot understand what they are.

    In short, this is a step backward, not a step forward. This is a proposal to give DOJ what it wants, not to amend the CFAA in a way that would narrow it. "

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was facing multiple felonies for using a computer to "seriously annoy" someone (that is the applicable text of the computer tampering law). I sent a single prank email. Seriously. Not threats of violence or anything just one of those paste-someone's-face-onto-an-embarrasing-image things. I was young and dumb, yes-- but these laws allow your door to be kicked in and your family held at gunpoint for some of the stupidest reasons. I took a plea for a designated misdemeanor, but I have criminal record no

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:43PM (#43277621)

    you should not get less time for robbing 7-11 or some other store.

    Let make a car analogy

    Let say that you find a gas pump that does not force you to pre pay and is wide open for any one to just start pumping gas is about the same thing as longing into a system with no security.

    But you can get less time for the Gasoline theft and you did steal something vs even just logging in / copying or looking at data that is still there. Unlike gas that is now missing from the station tank.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @09:42PM (#43277921) Homepage

    Everywhere you turn, the government is trying to control everything. Information (its secrets), the weapons, the people... the people are increasingly poor and less educated with a higher rate of 'criminals' behind bars than anywhere else in the world. Money has been well under control for a long time. Speaking of which, I hear something is going on with Europe's money beginning in Spain.

    We live in interesting times.

    • We live in interesting times.

      "May you live in interesting times" was used as a curse for good reason...

      It's disturbing that most people growing up right now will look back on this as the good old days without even pausing to consider that adults of the time were under a great deal of stress, and will mimic the mistakes made in the 90s/00s in hope of returning society to the happy, trusting time they recall.

  • Mike Masnik (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @09:59PM (#43277999)

    This story originates from a TechDirt posting by Mike Masnik.

    Mike is generally a pretty perceptive reporter, however he occasionally jumps the gun when posting commentary about preliminary documentation such as draft bills or revisions to such bills. I lost a lot of credibility with my Congressman in reacting to a story of his related to a revision being made to the ECPA.

    From that experience I learned to not pay attention to his reports on draft bills and similar preliminary documents because it's too early in the legislative process to determine if they have any weight or chance of becoming embedded in actual legislation.

    SO this may be worth following, but I don't think it's worth writing to a Congressman about yet.

    • Read some of the other stories. There's been quite a lot of traffic around this stories on a lot of law stories. The Volokh conspiracy site doesn't like it either, and pretty much every article I've seen on it - whether its Time, Guardian or anyone else - thinks it's either bad or the worst thing ever. Definitely don't jump the gun, but in this case, the gun has been shot a while ago.

  • I usually say that term limits are a dumb idea. That facing the public every 4 or 6 years was enough to keep pol's honest. That forcing them out would mean they would sell us out to the highest bidder to keep up the lifestyle of money and power.. But now, after seeing power grab after power grab, I think that they should be forced to be "regular" citizens again and to have to live under these new rules like the rest of us. Would that be enough to slow some of this shit down? I'm just so pissed at the balls
  • ...the grid lock in Congress will surely make it so this won't come to pass... right... right?! No? God *bleep* it!
  • by ub3r n3u7r4l1st ( 1388939 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @11:09PM (#43278345)

    Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
    Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    It is the bane of the civilization. We don't need them. Period.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The "give all of our power to actual malicious hackers act". I mean seriously. If they are going to create a legal environment where any arbitrary person can be prosecuted on an even slimmer pretext for computer crime than already exists, then what this will do is create a HUGE opportunity for actual computer criminals to FRAME innocent people for crimes.

    Oh, and don't say "well they will just not prosecute those" because if you use a little game theory, you can abuse the hell out of that attitude and us

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.